ANCIA Saxophone Quartet Feature by Chamber Music America
ANCIA - CMA Article, Spring 2013The ANCIA Saxophone Quartet was featured in the “American Ensemble” column in Chamber Music America’s magazine:  “The group approaches the commissioning and performance of new works as a special mission.  Not only does it regularly play music by contemporary composers like William Bolcom and Philip Glass, it has introduced more than two dozen works, including pieces by Jennifer Higdon and Lei Liang.  The quartet’s dealings with composers can be deeply collaborative.”  

Eugene Rousseau

“A fine ensemble of dedicated saxophonists, the Ancia Quartet performs with energy, precision, and a huge dynamic range in creating exquisite musical interpretations… four outstanding musicians whose presentations demonstrate the joy and power of music.”
 ~ Eugene Rousseau, Professor of Saxophone, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Indiana University

Short Stories CD Reviews:

“In this day and age, groups have to demonstrate that they are at home in a range of repertoire and styles, and in this recital the Ancia Quartet does just that. They indulge in the thick European-style romanticism of Ives, but allow the more transparent American romanticism of Higdon and the colorful minimalist landscape of Torke to shimmer. At the same time, they aggressively spit out the angular melodies, virtuosic licks, and dissonant polyphony in Higdon’s fast movements; and they easily shift between the abstract tonality and the pop rhythms in the Bixler and the Macy. Sturm’s cool jazz and improvisatory feel and Morton’s Dixieland-style dance tune both give the ensemble the chance to “let their hair down” and have some fun; and indeed, the listener will find it hard not to start tapping his toes.  This is well done; the casual listener will enjoy it just as much as the curious composer or the record-collecting saxophonist.”
~ American Record Guide, Patrick Hanudel

“This is an excellent collection of modern saxophone quartets written by some notable and exceptional composers. The title track Short Stories is also the best and most substantive piece on this disc. Jennifer Higdon is a much-admired composer—at least by me—and has created some outstanding orchestral and chamber works. It is heartening to see that she has not snubbed her nose at the idea of a sax quartet but has instead written a major work (26 minutes) of import and depth. The piece, from 1995, is a series of vignettes giving aural descriptions of little couple-of-lines stories. In six movements, we have “Chase”, “Summer’s Eve”, “Lullaby”, “Splashing the Canvass”, “Coyote Nights”, and “Stomp and Dance”, each of them as blatantly descriptive as can be without being too obvious. But then again, part of the enjoyment is how redolent the music is of these stories, supplied in depth in the notes. This is an outstanding work.  The Ancia Quartet, based in Minneapolis, has been around since 1990, and their unanimity of ensemble and complementary tonal qualities certainly testify to long experience in the field. Enthusiastically recommended.”
~ Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition, 4 stars

“Throughout the Ancia Saxophone Quartet show themselves as a technically adroit group with a palpable sense that they enjoy everything they play.”
 ~ David Denton, David’s Review Corner

“(Ancia) has been playing together since 1990, which practically places it as pioneers in what remains a growing field of ensembles in the United States…”
~ Dave Lewis, All Music Guide/AMG, 4 stars

“Elegantly and thoughtfully rendered…”
 ~ Michael Torke, Composer

 Performance Reviews
“The programming of the performance seemed to me to be especially well thought out; the variety of styles kept the listener’s interest high from the Bach through the wonderful Blackbottom Stomp! (I, and I’m sure much of the audience, would love to hear an all-jazz concert by the group.) Being an organist myself, I was amazed by the musicianship and technique you exhibited in the difficult Bach Prelude and Fugue.  Throughout the concert, your fine-tuned and sensitive ensemble playing was a delight to hear and observe. And since several of you are teachers and there were a number of children in the audience, the spoken explanations of the pieces was a very good idea… It is easy to see that you are four fine individual artists, and the combining of your talents and personalities results in some rarely heard and wonderful music making.”
~ Janice Derksen, Music at Hennepin, MN)

 “It was a great joy to have you return as guest artists for our event, and I know everyone in attendance enjoyed your excellent clinic and beautiful quartet playing…  I also appreciated the handout materials that you provided for distribution during your clinic.  The attention shown in the preparation of this information for our event was superb, and mirrored the world-class reputation that your group justly deserves.
~ Greg Keel, Saxophone Faculty at the MacPhail Center for the Arts in Minneapolis, MN

 “All of the repertoire was captivating…  Many in our audience gave very positive reactions, and the several saxophone players from one of our area high school thought the concert was “very cool.”  Those of us in the musician ranks marveled at your tight musicianship and ensemble work, not to mention just the technical skill!”
~ Joyce Jensen, Faith Lutheran Church, Coon Rapids, MN

“You are extraordinary musicians with extraordinary talents.  Your choices of repertoire, your friendly and helpful comments between selections, your unique and warm sound, and your engaging personalities all blended into a “blessing-filled” afternoon and evening of music and social time.”
~ Lee Aftdahl, A Festival of Music, Rochester, MN